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Dream come true for Home and Away fans

A GROUP of North Clare cousins received their ‘dream ticket’ recently meeting an internationally renowned actor and their story will feature on RTE television over Christmas.

Twins Amy and Claire Costello from Ballyvaughan with their cousins Ciara Costello also from Ballyvaughan and Aoife O’Loughlin from Corofin, saw their dream come true when they got to meet Dan Ewing who plays Heath Braxton in the Australian soap Home and Away as part of Una’s Dream Ticket which will be broadcast on Christmas Day.

“We remember coming back from playschool and watching Home and Away while eating our lunch and we have been watching it ever since,” Aoife told The Clare Champion.

Una’s Dream Ticket is a wish-fulfillment show which will be broadcast on RTE TWO during the Christmas period presented by Una Healy from girlband The Saturdays. This 11-part series kicks off on Christmas Day and continues daily until Saturday January 4.

“It used to be Jedwards Dream Factory and we watched it last year,” recalled 13-year-old Aoife O’Loughlin.

“We really wanted to meet Dan Ewing when he was in Clare in July but couldn’t because he was in the Queens and it was an over 18s event so we decided to enter this and see what would happen. We sent them an email telling them we would love to meet Dan Ewing and explaining that we couldn’t and then I just forgot about it,” explained Aoife.

“A few weeks later I was in Westport with my two aunties and my mam rang and said that Tyrone Productions had rang her to ask if I had sent them an email asking to meet Dan Ewing. It turned out that I had forgotten to tell mam about it,” she added.

“So they sent us an email on the Tuesday saying we had to send in a form before the Friday but there was a problem with the email and anyway we didn’t get it in until after the closing date. We didn’t hear anything back and we were like ‘ah well, there it goes. That’s that we won’t get to meet him now because we were late’,” she recalled.

The whole thing slipped the girls’ minds and they returned to school in September.

“It was the second week back and I was going to bed early because I was tired. Mam called me into the office one evening and said to me there was another email from Tyrone Productions. She read it out and they were asking us if we would go and be in the audience because they couldn’t organize for us to meet Dan because we didn’t get the form in on time,” Aoife explained.

With heavy hearts, the girls travelled to Dublin on the train with their aunt and a friend to go to the filming in RTE Studios in Donnybrook with their aunt and a friend.

“We went in and were put in this little corner in the background with a couple of other girls. Different girls were being called up and told they were going to meet so and so and we were thinking oh great they are teasing us. We were standing in the background and the director came over and told us we are too small to stand in the back row and that we have to move to the front row. So we went to the front row.”

“After a while they started talking about Home and Away”, Aoife remembered but the girls were a little distracted and didn’t realise what was being said.

“They called out our names and we were thinking ‘oh great there are people here with the same names as us’. We were looking at the director as if he had 10 heads and he came down and got us to get up and talk to Una. She told us the whole thing had been a joke and that everyone knew about it except us. My auntie and her friend knew. I thought she had been a bit quiet on the train but she was not talking in case she would accidently tell us. It turned out mam had got another email before the one she read to me and they said they didn’t get back to us after we sent in the form because they wanted it to be a total surprise. We couldn’t believe it. Then we got this video or Skype message from Dan to say he would see us soon.”

A few weeks later the girls travelled to Sligo to meet the Home and Away star in September before Clare took home its historic All-Ireland title. To mark the occasion the girls taught the Australian actor some hurling skills and presented him with a special gift. The Scoil Mhuire student hopes to watch the programme, which airs on Christmas Day, with her cousins and feels a mixture of nervousness and excitement at seeing the special day on screen.

To see Amy, Claire, Ciara and Aoife meet Dan tune into Una’s Dream Ticket at 11am on Christmas Day on RTE 2. Una’s Dream Ticket continues daily until January 4.


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